E-Commerce Shipping Options – How to Create an Effective E-Commerce Delivery Strategy

An effective shipping strategy is key to increasing conversions online and ultimately creating happy customers. First impressions are critical, and shipping is the first time customers see your brand in real life – so a good experience is vital! If your products arrive late or damaged, cost loads to ship, or have poor packaging, customers will be less than impressed.

As next day delivery becomes the norm and customers expect constant updates, e-commerce brands have to step up their shipping game to impress in 2021.

Luckily, we at Allegro Logistics help e-commerce brands make their customer happy every single day. We ship thousands of orders per day from our warehouse just outside Bristol, using integrated technology to ensure brands and their customers are informed every step of the journey. Keep reading for our top tips to creating an effective e-commerce delivery strategy.

How to Create an Effective E-Commerce Delivery Strategy

How do you find a shipping solution that benefits business and customers? How should shipping rates be decided? Will international shipping be feasible? Does packaging really matter that much?

We’ve broken down key steps and decisions to help e-commerce brands approach shipping strategy for success.

Before you begin thinking about shipping, though, it is important to first go over your business goals, growth and products. Not only will these factors affect the shipping strategy geography and cost, but also ensure you choose a strategy that benefits your goals.

So, once you know where you are shipping, the size and weight of your products, and the kinds of profit you aim to see, you can begin building your shipping strategy.

Decide on shipping fees

Excessive shipping costs are the main reason UK shoppers abandon their cart – 61% in fact (source)! Although it may therefore be tempting to offer shipping at the lowest cost possible – even free – it’s not that simple. E-commerce brands must consider what makes the customer happy (the fastest and cheapest option) and what drives profits for business, hopefully finding a compromise.

There are four main ways of arranging shipping fees:

  • Free shipping – Great for the customer! Less great for your business’ bottom line. Shipping has to be paid for somehow, and if the customer isn’t paying, you are.
  • Flat rate/tabletop rate – Suitable for the sake of equality. With a flat rate, everyone pays the same, useful when shipments are fairly similar. With a table-top rate, the price increases according to its band, denoted by factors such as distance, order cost or shipment size.
  • Live rates from couriers – A fair way to cover costs while giving low fees to customers. No money is made, but none is lost!
  • Mixed strategy – Taking the best of all options and balancing a fee that enables surplus income to facilitate promotional free shipping, for example.
    Shipping fees are not always black and white, they are affected by location, speed, delivery location and more. However, getting a good idea of what e-commerce shipping will cost and how that will be paid by customers forms the basis of the rest of the shipping strategy.

Decide on speed

Standard delivery for e-commerce brands, using the most common UK couriers, is around 3-5 working days, however 2-day shipping, next day delivery and even same day delivery are growing in popularity. Of course, the faster the delivery, the higher the fee. Although, over 40% of consumers are willing to pay more for same day delivery (source), so even if it costs more, speedy delivery may be worth the investment to please customers.

Often, there isn’t much e-commerce brands can do about the speed of delivery beyond choosing a courier and offering the same delivery windows they do. But e-commerce brands can highlight the options the offer, with transparent pricing and delivery times, as well as alerting customers to the deadlines. For example, if you are able to offer same day dispatch for next day delivery, it is crucial you let online customers know when the cut-off time is so they can place their orders in time.

Orders are picked, packed then shipped with the chosen courier.

Choose a courier

E-commerce brands shipping out of their own offices or warehouses need a courier they can rely on for an effective shipping strategy, even better if they can collect shipments. Popular couriers in the UK include Royal Mail, DPD, Hermes, Yodel, and Parcelforce Worldwide.

The majority of couriers offer the same services with competitive rates, so choosing one is often not a case of money or speed, but proximity to the business base. The main aspects to consider are price, delivery options, tracking options, locality, whether they collect shipments, and returns collection. Even the courier’s policy for missed delivery is key for a shipping strategy; if a customer isn’t in and misses a delivery, they can get frustrated at the e-commerce business when struggling to retrieve their package.

All the above aspects, despite being the responsibility of the courier not your business, can reflect on your brand, therefore courier choice is critical to an effective shipping strategy.

Perfect the packaging

Packaging is super important to e-commerce brands; not only does packaging protect the products but also forms the first impression of the brand for the customer. Packaging should be appropriately branded and attractive, but certainly shouldn’t break the bank. Achieving the right balance of lightweight enough to not add to shipping costs but sturdy enough to withstand transport, as well as making the packaging attractive, can be a big ask.

Materials should be considered too. Consumers are evermore environmentally conscious and will likely be fans of recyclable packaging, or even something made from recycled materials, so e-commerce brands should not overlook the importance of packaging at end of use.

If you aren’t sure which packaging type best fits your products, orders and overall shipping strategy, a courier or fulfilment supplier should be able to help with the sourcing and printing of packaging if required.

Third Party Logistics (3PL)

The most effective shipping strategies streamline the shipping process, integrate all aspects of e-commerce purchasing, and unite all stock, pick and pack services, and shipping in one space. E-commerce brands using a third party logistics provider benefit from having all aspects of fulfilment handled for less hassle, quick speeds and efficiency, and simple single-point billing.

Ideal for e-commerce brands starting out and growing businesses alike, outsourced fulfilment reduces the strain on time, space, and human resources.

Allegro Logistics offer speedy and reliable e-commerce fulfilment and have an innovative warehouse management system that integrates with hundreds of e-commerce platforms and shopping carts (including eBay, Amazing, Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento) for streamlined order processing and integrated stock management. Our on-the-ground team and array of courier partners ensure a smooth and speedy process for the fulfilment of all orders.

Check out our e-commerce fulfilment services.

Using real time reporting, e-commerce brands can monitor orders, track the fulfilment process, gain insights on stock levels, sync online information with warehouse data, review returns, and even track shipping, all from one platform.

With a fulfilment partner leading the shipping strategy, e-commerce brands can sit back, relax, and know that their brand and products are being well managed, leaving them to focus on marketing and the day-to-day duties.

Our handheld devices use our integrated warehouse management system to direct pickers in the most efficient manner.

Offer tracking

57% UK consumers use their mobile SMSs to track their orders, and 54% use emails (source); thus, tracking appeals to over half the market. It is clear that consumers want to be able to keep an eye on their orders, so if you can, offer it!

Even if your business or the courier don’t offer live tracking, be sure to give your customers updates. For example, send an email once the order is received, then one when the order is dispatched, followed by another one once the order has been delivered.

The most desirable option, now very achievable with integrated software, would be to automate emails and information, or at least for businesses to be able to see this information. That way, when a customer rings up and asks for an update, you can simply pull up the map and give real time information, resulting in sublime customer service.

Integrated E-Commerce Fulfilment with Allegro Logistics

With extensive hands-on experience with e-commerce fulfilment, a chain of trusted courier partners, and impressive facilities, Allegro Logistics can help you achieve a cost-effective, speedy and efficient shipping strategy. We use modern fulfilment software to keep you and your customers updated every step of the way, from stock arrival in our warehouse, to pick and pack then shipping.

It all begins with a phone call! Get in touch today and discuss your e-commerce business with us. Let us help you make customers happy with quick delivery, great customer service and good-looking packages.

Benefits of Ecommerce Fulfilment

Using a 3PL to take care of your delivery service can be daunting to some businesses. They might feel as though they want complete control over all aspects of their business, but it soon becomes evident that this just isn’t possible. Allowing a specialist to take care of this element of your business can bring many benefits, as outlined below:

  • Spend time on other elements of your business – Having a 3PL deal with your delivery procedure is one less responsibility for you to worry about, and allows you to dedicate more time to other aspects of your business, such as marketing and finding new customers.
  • It’s cost-effective – You aren’t required to purchase warehouse space to store all of your items, or a workforce to pick, pack and ship orders. This is cost-effective for both smaller and large businesses.
  • Cheaper shipping discounts – The shipping prices are likely to be cheaper with a 3PL than if you were to negotiate on your own. Third-party ecommerce fulfilment companies ship such large quantities every month, so will inevitably be able to get better shipping rates than your business alone will.

Provider of Ecommerce Fulfilment Solutions in Bristol

For more information about our complete ecommerce fulfilment solution, please contact a member of the Allegro Logistics team today. We have been in the logistics industry for over 60 years, and specialise in providing cost-effective logistics solutions to businesses throughout the UK and internationally.

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